Logical Fallacies: Ad Hominem Attacks and Circular Arguments
Despite being the manifestations of logical mistakes, ad hominem arguments can still appeal to different audiences, sometimes including well-educated people. Any person has his or her own opinions about people’s characteristics, and personal preferences affect one’s ability to think critically, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. Thus, if my opponent uses such attacks to raise a laugh against me, people who like him/her as a person and dislike me for some reason will probably consider the pseudo argument to be valid. For instance, racist attacks can find support among those who have biases against politicians of color, and it is true for other characteristics. Also, ad hominem attacks often resonate with people’s emotional states. For instance, “D. cannot become a good politician because he left his wife for another woman” can make people who have been let down skeptical towards the attacked person.
As for circular arguments, people tend to believe them since they are formally valid and can be overcomplicated. Circular arguments can be formulated in a sophisticated way and contain many distracting details, which makes it difficult for the audience to keep track of premises and conclusions. More than that, simple circular arguments can raise no concerns because their parts make one idea look like two different ones. For example, the sentence “J. is a successful speaker because she is verbally adept” seems logically consistent, although it basically claims that “X is true because X is true.” Whether my opponent is connecting to the audience’s goals depends on voters’ knowledge of political programs and opinions on the key political problems to be solved. Their most critical goal is to vote for the best program offered by the most reliable politician. With that in mind, personal racist attacks, if they are obvious, can be the cause of my opponent’s reputational losses. As an example, by referring to his or her rival’s ethnicity to prove some negative points, my opponent will fall into contempt when speaking in front of a diverse audience.
To encourage voters to elect me, I will use a combination of persuasive tactics relying on facts and emotions. My first tactic will be to use authoritative sources when justifying my points and appeal to logical reasoning. For instance, I can start by listing the key changes that I am going to make and explaining my choices with the help of valid research. Also, since people tend to make decisions based on their personal preferences, I will appeal to emotions and trust by showing my interest in improving citizens’ lives.